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HDslr gear on a budget: indiGo Jib review (part 2)

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Longer lengths and Outside:

Back in part one of the review/test of the indiGo I mentioned having to pay more attention at its longer lengths to achieve fluid movements…After playing with it a bit more I find myself needing to humbly retract that statement.

20110608_indigo_hoh_stills_068-editMuch to my delight this jib seems to get easier to use and floats/controls even more effortlessly at it’s 7 & 8’ extensions. Now this could just be my growing familiarity with it, but I now find myself easily directing/guiding it exactly where I want it with just a few fingers. This is nice.

(A part of this improvement can probably be attributed to a feature I somehow overlooked when I first started using the jib…a sliding rod on the tailstock that is used for really fine tuning the balance. More on this later)

Setting the jib up at one of it’s longer lengths is simple, tool-less and takes just a few seconds more than setting it up at it’s shortest 6’ size. Loosen the two tension knobs at the head end, remove the two retaining bolts, slide to new length and replace bolts…rebalance…done…you’re floating higher and lower.

20110512_indigo_jib_outdoors_stills1_007But be warned that there are three things I hadn’t thought of when first moving to the longer lengths. None of which are faults of the indiGo but more my having a “duh” moment, older eyes and a lack of “wingspan”.

The “duh” moment occurred when I realized (on location of course) that the longest HDMI cable in my kit was just 6’ 6″. Now luckily this still “kind of” worked by reconfiguring the monitor mounting plate, but it still stretched the cord to it’s fullest, put strain on the inputs of my smallHD Dp6 and Nikon D7000, and gave me reason to pause before attempting extreme movements. Not a good thing…remedy: A 15’ cable (and backup) soon joined the collection.

20110528_indigo_outside_stills_003OK, now the eye thing…my vision was giving me fits as the longer lengths seem to put the monitor just far enough away where I couldn’t drive from the head end and still comfortably see and work with my 5.6” monitor on the plate. Being totally dependent on the smallHD for framing my shots (and the peaking and false color features for exposure and racking focus), I contacted Reed and Chris at to see if I could borrow one of their larger Dp1 monitors for the tests only to find out that the line had been retired. (All of their efforts are now focused on the Dp6 and new Dp4)…Luckily they found an older “B” stock model in the back room and I was soon back in business.

So unless you plan on driving with your monitor mounted somewhere at the head end or on the camera itself (might be hard to see at times) you’ll need something larger than 5.6” to still be able to see it while racking or tilting with your tripod head when fully extended. Another option might be one of the new inexpensive wired or wireless follow focus units from Jag35 that just started shipping…haven’t tried/tested them myself yet but they sure look interesting.

20110526_indigo_outside_stills_016The third situation I encountered was lack of “wingspan” even at 6’1”…directly related to the problem above and my desire to pull focus or adjust my GenusTech Fader ND filter during some moves. Keeping the HDslr shallow depth of field look and feel yet staying in focus while traveling through a longer jibs arc requires a constant tweaking of the Bravo follow focus. If you’re not blessed with an NBA type assistant/focus puller and haven’t gotten one of Jag35’s new remote follow focus units, then the only option I can think of here is a really long Whip…My longest currently is 12” and I’m starting on a hunt for something significantly longer that will help in these situations. If anyone has a lead on a reasonably priced, longer length model please let me know.

20110609_garden_test2_001OK…now that “fine tuning” rod I overlooked. This is so cool. Not only does it allow you to easily fine tune the balance, it can also be used to reduce the overall weight needs by shifting the fulcrum point. That little 5” of movement allowed me to use pretty close to the same amount of weight at all 3 lengths. Less wear and tear on your back and tripod head. Sweet…Thank you Tim.

So now she’s proven herself to me at the longer lengths while still being reasonably portable out of the back of my Rover. Yes…there’s still a few things I would like to see on it including a vertical brake and a “tilt or pan/tilt” solution, but I’m working on those and have recently discovered and contacted a source for what seems to be effective, reasonably priced motorized pan/tilt option. (More on that in an upcoming review ;-)

Bottom line: She works well and is still very stable at the longer lengths and out of the controlled studio environment. And yes, the indiGo vehicle travels well. It’s relatively light weight (14 lbs), quick set-up/size options, overall stability, and all of the thoughtful little details Tim and indiGo include (mounting accessories, case etc), combined with its low price tag still have me smiling more than not.

For more information on the indiGo Jib by indi Systems contact:

Tim Ovel
Indi System



[…] Part 2 of this review (Outside and fully extended) HERE […]

Robert Livings

July 24, 2011


Hi Rick,

Thank you so much for your in-depth review and the footage you’ve posted. You have convinced me to purchase this product (as well as me having purchased the indiSLIDER-mini from previously and being very happy with it).

There’s just one thing I’m curious about, and that’s the mounting to tripods. Does it just attach to the tripod via the tripod plate? I don’t have a Manfrotto 501 or 503 head (I use the Weifeng 717 tripod/head….a great tripod-on-a-budget) so I was wondering how it attaches, or if you could possibly put up or send me a couple of photos of how it mounts? I would really appreciate it as I’d love to continue supporting the guys at because they really are doing amazing things for the indie-cinema world!

Actually while I’m at it, a second curiosity….can the camera plate be tilted (not whilst in use, as in, adjusted, then used for a pan (or did you attach a tripod head and tilt using that for the above-shots?)




July 25, 2011


Hi Rob…

Sorry for the delay in responding as I was on location up in remote Canada…

The 717 should be ok if you’re not flying a really heavy load…I have a few that I use as slider stands and they’re pretty solid…just make sure that ball/bowl is really tightened down…

yes the mount plate attaches to the indigo and then the tripod head and that can be adjusted at any angle you desire before starting to fly your camera.

I do, in fact attach another head to the business end of the jib so I can do small moves and support a follow-focus set-up. Not needed, and you can get a variety of nice moves without it but it’s handy for me and just adds to the options…

We’re playing around with some motorized pan/tilt head options here so keep an eye out ( or follow me on twitter ) for those reviews in the next week or so.

Take care…Ric


August 8, 2011


Hi, I bought the Indigo jib … but not installed yet. I wonder if this jib isn’t too heavy for my new Sachtler Cine DSLR tripod. It can manage approx. 16lbs but no more. With just the camera (7D) on it … no more gear, I hope this will work… Indisystems said that this Sachtler tripod will do the job too. I hope so. :-) Regards, Dimitri (WonderPixel Belgium – Europe). And thanks for your nice review.


August 9, 2011


Congrats Dimitri…you’ll enjoy it.

I’m finding the rig at the edge of the capacity for my Bogen 501 heads. No problem with any of the sticks themselves and I’ve even used it on some magfiber ones.

Not sure about the Sachtler as I haven’t used it, but he 501 does tend to slip a bit when the Jib is fully loaded. I’m currently experimenting with one of my older manfrotto photo (not fluid) heads that seem to have a greater capacity…will report back on that.

Remember that the “fine tuning” slide on the back does help reduce the total amount of weight needed. Might be something to try if you’re near the capacity of your set-up.



February 23, 2012


Hey Ric,
I am trying to decide upon my first Jib purchase. I am trying to decide between getting the IndiGo or the CobraCrane Backpacker. I was wondering what your thoughts were? Which would you choose if you could only choose one, and why?

Thanks very much Ric!


February 23, 2012


All boils down to your shooting style and what’s more important to you…

Because 90% of my shoots are currently vehicle accessible I’ve ended up primarily using the indiGo jib. I can afford the little extra space it needs, it’s beefier build means it’s much more stable/smooth overall and I can use it with my accessories (monitor, pan head etc) easier.

Though if I were just doing “backpacking” shoots I’d probably go with the Backpacker


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